Enzyme specificity


Enzyme specificity

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Emil Adolf Hermann Fischer chemistry

Enzyme specificity


Fischer projection

Enzymes increase the rate of biochemical reactions. I became fascinated with the structures of sugars and lost sight of the fact that they are useful because enzymes can break them up.

Sucrose (C12H22O11), a disaccharide, is a combination of two monosaccharides, glucose and fructose (both with the chemical composition C6H12O6). What distinguishes glucose from fructose is their chiral forms. Chiral carbon structures are asymmetrical, like the thumb on a hand; in sugars, a hydrogen sticks to one side and an oxygen-hydrogen pair sticks to the other.

The disaccharide of glucose is maltose (C12H22O11). Brewer’s yeast produces the enzyme Saccharomyces cerevisiae to convert maltose during the brewing of beer into ethanol (C2H5OH) and carbon dioxyde (CO2) .

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